***This event is SOLD OUT! Tickets were sold on a first come, first served basis, and there are no more available seats for the public. We will not be giving out tickets on the day of the event, as there will not be any additional seats available. There is no wait list for those who did not get tickets. We appreciate your interest in this event, and we apologize for any inconvenience. If you'd like to pre-order Rachel's new book, you can do so in-store or on our website.***

Rachel Maddow is returning to South Hadley. On Sunday, November 17 at 4:00pm, the bestselling author and host of the Emmy Award–winning Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC will be in Chapin Auditorium at Mount Holyoke College to discuss her new book, Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth. This event is sponsored by the Odyssey Bookshop and the Mount Holyoke College Division of Student Life.

*This event is ticketed and will be limited to the first 300 to purchase a Book + Ticket package. See below to purchase and for more information. Questions? Contact us at or call 413-534-7307*

About the Book

Big Oil and Gas Versus Democracy—Winner Take All

In 2010, the words “earthquake swarm” entered the lexicon in Oklahoma. That same year, a trove of Michael Jackson memorabilia—including his iconic crystal-encrusted white glove—was sold at auction for over $1 million to a guy who was, officially, just the lowly forestry minister of the tiny nation of Equatorial Guinea. And in 2014, Ukrainian revolutionaries raided the palace of their ousted president and found a zoo of peacocks, gilded toilets, and a floating restaurant modeled after a Spanish galleon. Unlikely as it might seem, there is a thread connecting these events, and Rachel Maddow follows it to its crooked source: the unimaginably lucrative and equally corrupting oil and gas industry.

With her trademark black humor, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe, revealing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas along the way, and drawing a surprising conclusion about how and why the Russian government hacked the 2016 U.S. election. She deftly shows how Russia’s rich reserves of crude have, paradoxically, stunted its growth, forcing Putin to maintain his power by spreading Russia’s rot into its rivals, its neighbors, the West’s most important alliances, and the United States. Chevron, BP, and a host of other industry players get their star turn, most notably ExxonMobil and the deceptively well-behaved Rex Tillerson. The oil and gas industry has weakened democracies in developed and developing countries, fouled oceans and rivers, and propped up authoritarian thieves and killers. But being outraged at it is, according to Maddow, “like being indignant when a lion takes down and eats a gazelle. You can’t really blame the lion. It’s in her nature.”

Blowout is a call to contain the lion: to stop subsidizing the wealthiest businesses on earth, to fight for transparency, and to check the influence of the world’s most destructive industry and its enablers. The stakes have never been higher. As Maddow writes, “Democracy either wins this one or disappears.”

About the Author

Rachel Maddow is host of the Emmy Award–winning Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC, as well as the author of Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power, a #1 New York Times bestseller. Maddow received a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Stanford University and earned her doctorate in political science at Oxford University. She lives in New York City and Massachusetts with her partner, artist Susan Mikula.

About Your Ticket

You *must* pre-pay for your Rachel Maddow Book Talk Ticket. If you choose "Pay In-store" option upon checkout, you will not recieve your ticket and you will not be admitted into the event.

With this purchase, you will receive one copy of Blowout by Rachel Maddow and will be granted admission for one to her book talk at Chapin Auditorium at Mount Holyoke College on Sunday, November 17 at 4:00pm. Tickets cost $32, and the ticket price includes a copy of the book and priority seating, which will be released on a first-come, first-served basis the day of the event.

If you would like two tickets, please purchase two Book + Ticket packages (etc.). The book discussion will be limited to the first 300 people who purchase a Book + Ticket through the Odyssey website.

If you would like to go through the process in-store, an Odyssey Bookseller can walk you through creating an account and purchasing online at one of our store computers.

UPDATED: Important Event Details

Please make sure to read through all of the event details, you are responsible for knowing the information. Some details have changed from the time you purchased your ticket, so make sure to read everything below.

In consultation with Rachel Maddow’s event team, we will be taking questions via an online ‘Questions for Rachel Maddow’ form. Please make sure to submit your questions via this form, this is how questions will be taken for this event!

Location: Chapin Auditorium in Mary Woolley Hall

Time: Doors open at 3 p.m., program begins at 4 p.m.

Entry into the venue:

  • You will first pick up your ticket from will-call for Odyssey purchased tickets, which will be located in the Abby-Buckland multipurpose room in the building just to the left of Mary Woolley Hall where the talk is being held. Will call opens at 2:00pm.

  • If you have not yet picked up your book, it will be given to you at will call. Additional books will be available for purchase at the event.

  • Please be prepared to show ID if asked for. 

  • Once you have your ticket, you will enter Mary Woolley Hall through the main doors to the right. Please join the line on the sidewalk, if one has formed.

  • Please note, that if you leave the building you will not be able to get back in

  • No large bags, such as book bags or big purses, are allowed into the space. No professional cameras or video cameras may enter the building.

  • All those entering the building will be wanded by event security, please be prepared to remove items from your pockets. A reminder that weapons are prohibited on the grounds of Mount Holyoke College, with the exception of law enforcement officers duly authorized to carry such weapons. For more information, review the full policy, and note that items that may be used as weapons will be subject to seizure.

Once in the building:

  • No recording or flash photography of any kind are allowed without prior permission.

  • We ask that when being seated you move all the way into the row, and do not leave any empty seats. This event is completely sold out, and all seats will be used.

  • The ground level will be filled first, followed by the first balcony and then the second balcony.

  • Event staff reserve the right to eject anyone who is disruptive. 

Parking and Additional details:

  • The Morgan Street and Gorse Parking lots will be available for those driving to the venue.

  • If you have accessibility needs, please notify the Office of Student Involvement as soon as possible so we can meet them. CART services will be available, please contact us in order to ensure you are set up with this access.

  • Rachel will not be signing books at this event.

If you have questions, contact the office of student involvement at 413-538-2478 or

Event date: 
Sunday, November 17, 2019 - 4:00pm
Event address: 
Chapin Auditorium, Mount Holyoke College
50 College Street
South Hadley, MA 01075
Author Photo: 
Event Category :